Workshop to address healthy soils

The West Australian
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WA growers will be able to build up their knowledge of how to ensure healthy soils at a Merredin workshop next month.

Department of Agriculture and Food development officer Greg Shea said the workshop would build on last year's 'Get to know soils deeper' roadshow, by delivering the latest soil technology and research findings to help manage healthy soils.

"Hosted by DAFWA, the roadshow brought together department experts with an emphasis on managing soils as a whole," Mr Shea said.

"The workshop focus will be on more effective management practices with a focus on profitable solutions to ensure healthy soils."

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Mr Shea said many of the soil constraints that cost growers thousands of dollars every year in lost grain production could be overcome when decisions were based on appropriate measurements and advice.

"By making changes, growers can manage their soils to be more productive," Mr Shea said. "Some of these changes don't necessarily cost a lot, which is especially important when budgets are tight."

Mr Shea said growers with high-yielding crops in 2013 were concerned about whether the level of soil fertility had been run down as a result.

"Given the increased awareness about how soil acidity has been reducing the effectiveness of the fertiliser applied and restricting yields, growers also want to know where and how much lime should be used, especially since the transport component makes lime potentially very expensive for the eastern Wheatbelt," he said.

"We are definitely getting feedback from growers that they want to get a bigger dollar return from their fertiliser investment."

Attendees are encouraged to bring soil and tissue tests in to the workshop so they can run through them with experts.

"It's important that growers sample top and subsurface soils to measure soil characteristics so they have good information to better make decisions on investments in soil inputs and management," Mr Shea said.

The free workshop will run from 9:30am to 3:30pm, February 11 at the Merredin Recreation and Community Leisure Centre. To register, contact Caroline Peek on 9081 3104 or email caroline.peek@agric.wa.gov .au.

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